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Sweep Picking Exercises part 1

Sweep Picking Exercises part 1

sweep picking exercises

If don’t know what sweep picking is, I wrote an article concerning this technique a while back and you can read that article here.

In this article I want to show you how to play a sweep picking sequence version of  Pachelbel’s Cannon   .

And I am also going to show you how to learn and practice it properly to that you can play effortlessly and at any speed you desire.

The major problem that I confronted with when trying to learn this technique was that I wanted to play faster and faster but concerning memory muscle I did the biggest mistake ever:  Playing when I was TENSED. (If you don’t know what memory muscle is I invite you to read Chapter 2 in my free EBOOK “The Guitar Blueprint to Success” ).

When practicing sweep picking exercises, as you will find out by reading this article, need to be practiced by being relaxed at comfortable BPM.

When it comes to sweep picking you probably saw everyone giving you the advice: “Practice slow and you will get there”.

But what practice slow actually means ? How slow? How long do I have to practice slow ? How do I know when it is good to raise the bpm ?

I don’t know about you but the above questions popped into my mind frequently as I was trying to do sweep picking exercises.

This article is my attempt to show how to master this aspect one and for all in your guitar playing.

Sweep Picking Exercises Mindset

I am first going to talk to you about the mindset you must have in order to get fast at sweep picking without being frustrated about the process of reaching your desired speed limit.

The most important thing in this process is the component called FOCUS. The big problem is that most of us don’t know on what we need to focus when practicing a guitar technique.

The components you need to focus in order to not get frustrated about the process of learning sweep picking exercises

1. Focus on your left hand fingers FIRST

When first learning a shape the idea is to practice slowly ( don’t worry, I am going to give you a detailed blueprint of how slow you should practice) and focus on your fingers being as close to the fret board as possible.

Although it can be very frustrating at first, think of it as a long term investment in your playing and guitar technique (in chapter 2 in the ebook I also showed you 3 powerful exercises for mastering technique once and for all).

2. Focus on the sweep picking technique after you can play the shapes effortlessly  SECOND

After concentrating on the 1 point for a while you will see that the shapes become second nature, same as you would play basic open chords positions.

Here is the part where you start sweeping (going up and down the string with your pick).

The MAJOR difference will be that you don’t have to focus on your left hand at all because you can play the shape effortlessly. This means you don’t have to distribute your FOCUS into 2 directions. You will have 100% focus on your left and right hands one after another.

3.The advantage of note values when practicing sweep picking exercises.

I once had a student that told me that he can play at 400 bpm effortlessly. I was amazed and curious to see him in action in the same time. When he started playing he was playing 4th notes ( which is one note/beat at 400 BPM, this means 200 BPM for 8th notes and 100BPM for 16 notes, which is not that fast).

He developed the bad habit of practicing the same note value over and over, and this made him  unable to have  a good sense of beat and caused him to have big rhythm problems when playing.

When it comes it comes to note values (I wrote an entire chapter in my book about it if you don’t know what they are) the best approach is to select  a BPM and play the same phrase, lick, scale, arpeggio or whatever by using different note values.

For example let’s take these 2 arpeggios shapes

D Major

sweep picking exercises

B Minor

sweep picking exercises


This shapes are played 3 notes per as you can see above the tabs.

The fingering is shown after each diagram, and T stands for tapping with your right hand.

In order to learn   these shapes properly it is good to first play them as 4th notes (one note per beat)

D Major

sweep picking exercises

B Minor

sweep picking exercises


And then practice them as 8th notes ( 2 notes per beat)

D Major

sweep picking exercises

B Minor

sweep picking exercises

How to practice them exactly ?

1. Set the metronome to 60 or 80 BPM (see where you can play completeley relaxed)

2. Play both shapes as 4th notes.  Play them for 5 minutes each without stopping.

3. Take a break for 5 minutes and then play the 8th notes versions (again for 5 minutes each)

4. Assuming you have done the above exercises you should be very familiar with the shapes by now, so raise the metronome bpm with 10 beats and repeat the process.

WARNING: It is a good idea to work on a maximum 20 BPM raise when you are just starting out.  And be aware of the tension that might build up, if you develop the habit of playing tensed you will get nowhere. Good technique takes time and patience.

5. Do this for 2 days and then repeat the process only that you start with 8th notes and continue with triplets (3 notes per beat)

Now i would like you to try the above mentioned facts and soon i am going to make a sequel to this articles in which i show you how to play pachelbel canons sweep picking sequence.

Until then have fun with your sweep picking exercises.



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